Now, presently I've been doing a lot of fancy work, but for many game orientated hobbyists, such fancy work is unecessary; what you want is results, as fast as possible to avoid the dreaded bare metal or black undercoated army of doom. I have several armies done to this standard, including my dark ages forces. So today I'll run you through how to paint units and get them looking reasonable in a couple of hours.
So the unit below is going to be represented by a single figure in the shots; but it is a force of 8 Carolingian cavalry. The first thing to say for the following techniques, is know their limits. I have concluded this method, the black wash technique, works well for Medieval and earlier figures, Fantasy models and anything from WW1 onwards. I don't think it does the intervening period much justice, but it would certainly work.
So having selected our subject and reviewed how they should look. Lets get started:
For example, if the bulk of the figure is to be finished in red or flesh, start by base coating a reddish brown; for white, start with a pale grey or very pale blue. This may mean you can't rely on a spray can, something I seldom use anyway, but it does reduce the need to apply multiple coats of paint. The brown here is fine for hiding missed bits in shadow, works great as a base for horses and supports the grimy, dark ages feel.Remember, you are using black to shade, so unless you have to, avoid it as a pure colour on the models. If black is demanded I elect for a deep slate grey instead, so only the folds will become black later on.